By: Manny Vieites
July 11, 2014 will go down as one of the most memorable days in NBA history. With LeBron James signing with the Cleveland Cavaliers to the hype around NBA rookies Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker playing their first summer league game—today has been a handful.
Despite all of the stories surrounding the NBA, the Sacramento Kings made a little noise on this day for themselves.
Isaiah Thomas is on the move to the Phoenix Suns in a sign-and-trade deal after reaching a new four-year, $28 million contract. In return, the Kings will acquire a $7 million trade exception and the rights to forward Alex Oriakhi, the 57th overall pick in 2013.
Coach Michael Malone spoke about the Thomas trade after a Kings loss in its first NBA Summer League matchup.
“Thomas and I exchanged text messages giving each other the best of our wishes,” Malone said. “I’m happy for him. I think the world of him as a person and as a player, I think all the hard work that he has put forward in the NBA has paid off and he has proved it.”
The trade was announced during the Kings first matchup during the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The Kings had their first game of the tournament against the San Antonio Spurs and lost by a score of 85-69.
Sacramento showed great signs early when rookie Nik Stauskas was being utilized off the pick and pops. Stauskas also has an ability to get to the basket and finish with confidence.
“If a play is drawn up for me I can usually knock it down. I did that at Michigan and I plan to do that here with the Kings,” said a confident Stauskas.
The defensive presence of Stauskas was huge in the first half to go along with his 10 first half point of 3 of 6 shooting.
The Kings bolted out to an early 10-point lead and held that lead for the remainder of the first half. Closing the half by a score of 43-35.
Forward Quincy Acy was a huge factor in today’s game scoring 14 points and grabbing seven rebounds. Acy’s defensive presence was a lot for the Spurs to handle.
The third quarter is where the Kings began to fall apart. The poor play of second year player Ben McLemore was not how the Kings would have wanted to see their starting two guard perform.
McLemore had eight turnovers on the night to go with his 2 of 8 shooting performance.
“This is not something that we want to see out of our starting two guard,” said Malone. “We hope to see what we did wrong today tomorrow in the film room and utilize that in tomorrows practice.”
Along with the poor play of McLemore, Ray McCallum showed signs of working on his shot but did not prevail. McCallum shot 4 of 11 from the field with the majority of those shots being ill advised.
The Kings began turning the ball over and showing a loss of energy once the San Antonio lead went above 15.
The Kings scored a combined 26 points in the second half and that is not how they plan on playing for the remainder of the Summer League.
“We were holding on to the ball to much and were going to look at it tomorrow in the film room and prepare for Sunday,” said Stauskas.
The Kings continue their summer league action on Sunday at 3 PM against the Charlotte Hornets.